James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Ben Bishop thinks he was close to being traded to Flames


The Calgary Flames did well to improve in net by trading for Brian Elliott, but it sounds like they almost ended up acquiring a different former St. Louis Blues goalie.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie (for now?) Ben Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith that he believes he nearly found his way to Calgary during this off-season.

“It looked like for a little bit it was going to happen,” Bishop said. “At kind of the last minute (the Flames) went out and got Elliott. It was close, but there was never … It wasn’t that close, obviously.”

Then again, Bishop told Smith that it went far enough for contract negotiations to take place with the Flames, so it probably shouldn’t be dismissed outright.

Now, for all we know, this story might be filed under “to be continued.”

Yes, the Flames traded for Elliott … but both Bishop and Elliott are in the final years of their current contracts. For all we know, the Lightning and Flames could revisit this subject during 2016-17, or even afterward.

One interesting thing to note is that Bishop isn’t that much younger than Elliott. Bishop is 29 and will turn 30 on Nov. 21. Elliott is 31 and will turn 32 on April 9, 2017.

(Bishop’s age sneaks up on you a bit since he didn’t really get a chance to prove himself until 2012-13 if not 2013-14.)

Much like Elliott, it seems like Bishop might get pushed out from his current situation despite some strong work on his own part.

It wouldn’t be that crazy if he ended up as the Flames’ go-to guy once this game of goaltending musical chair ends.

More on Bishop’s future

Examining his situation

The case for the Lightning letting him play out his deal

Sean Monahan (back) is out, so Vincent Trocheck’s in for North America


Friday continues the parade of significant players asking out of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Sean Monahan is the latest to ask out, so Vincent Trocheck takes his spot on Team North America.

The Calgary Flames explain that Monahan is missing the tournament because of a “back strain,” which doesn’t sound too significant. Here’s the statement from GM Brad Treliving:

Monahan said it simply enough: “It’s disappointing, but at the same time my commitment is to the Flames.”

Considering what just happened with Frederik Andersen – a player who got hurt not long after signing a massive extension – the Flames probably appreciate Monahan’s commitment.

Again, people aren’t shy about throwing out some one-liners:

Along with Andersen and Monahan, Corey Perry is replacing Jeff Carter for Team Canada while it looks like David Krejci can’t go for the Czech Republic.

The Killers, Green Day will help kick off World Cup of Hockey


Here’s something you don’t run into all that often when discussing music groups performing at NHL events: wondering who the bigger draw really is.

The league announced two remarkably relevant* performers for 2016 World Cup of Hockey-related festivities. At least relatively speaking.

First, on Sept. 16, the Killers will headline the “Pepsi World Cup of Hockey Premiere Party.”

Green Day will then perform a week later on Sept. 23 for the “World Cup of Hockey Celebration of Champions.”

(So, uh, the titles of these events are … a little less impressive than the star power on hand.)

Apparently Green Day’s performance will be the pop-punk band’s first live show in Canada in 2016.

You can read up on additional details in the press releases.

Now, to bully you with especially irrelevant songs from each group:

* – This being the Internet and especially with music being involved, commenters are virtually guaranteed to quibble with this. Enjoy:


Corey Perry replaces Jeff Carter for Canada at World Cup of Hockey


Well, that didn’t take very long.

About an hour or two after word surfaced that Jeff Carter won’t be able to suit up for Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, we got word that Corey Perry will take his place.

When it comes to a hockey power like Canada, sometimes injury replacements almost feel like logical corrections. More than a few people probably wondered why Perry wasn’t on the roster in the first place.

(He’s a member of the Triple-Gold Club, after all.)

We’ve seen an early rush of players asking out or being knocked out of the competition; Carter joins David Krejci and probably Frederik Andersen as names who have been crossed off their respective countries’ lists as of Friday.

Perry and Carter are big bodies who can provide rare goal-scoring ability, so while they each have certain strengths and weaknesses in comparison to each other, it feels like a wash in the big picture.

This weekend may or may not inspire other injury announcements, as teams are likely getting into gear soon:

Naturally, injury updates are provoking the usual grumbling:

Report: Leafs will fly Frederik Andersen in for evaluation


This is just the Toronto Maple Leafs’ luck with goalies: they have to worry about Frederik Andersen‘s health before he’s even stopped a single puck for them.

(Check this post for more on the unfortunate moment when he was injured during Denmark’s Olympic qualifier match against Slovenia.)

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Andersen is being flown back from international competition so that the Maple Leafs’ own staff can take a look at the 26-year-old netminder. At the moment, it’s considered an upper-body injury with little additional information provided:

It’s reasonable to wonder if Andersen can play for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The Maple Leafs took a leap of faith in handing Andersen a five-year, $25 million deal after trading for him this off-season. They must be holding their breath after this crash, then:

It’s been a heavy day of injury updates related to players possibly skipping the World Cup of Hockey, with Jeff Carter unable to play for Team Canada and David Krejci likely needing to skip representing the Czech Republic.

PHT will provide updates regarding Andersen’s condition.